As many know, we have a large population of Marshallese from their Island nation here in NWA. They came to escape the old, continuing destruction visited on them by U.S. nuclear testing, and todays continued environmental degradation of their islands. Many came to work in the NWA poultry processing industry, and they have stayed a cohesive cultural people while slowly integrating into Arkansas life. With Covid-19, and the poultry industries careless attitude towards its workers, the Marshallese were hit hard by the virus. It spread from workers to the community with heartbreaking results in sickness and deaths, and economic disaster. Albious Latior, a Marshallese community organizer who has spoken at UUFF several times about his people, reached out to NWA churches and non-profits to get help for his people, and the results have been gratifying. Pastor Clint Schnekloth of Good Shepherd Lutheran and Albious put together a highly successful fundraiser to aid Marshallese families. We as UUFF, and I assume a number of UU individuals, contributed to this effort, so we were thanked with this wonderful performance in our Sanctuary.
There is a lot more to be done to help the Marshallese and others affected by this pandemic, and we’ll step up to do our part as individuals, and community. And we appreciate that when a community like the Marshallese is grateful for help given, they will share such a wonderful thank-you in song! Kommol tata!